Vote recount confirms Cagas election as Davao del Sur gov

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DIGOS CITY, Philippines—The recount of votes in Davao del Sur undertaken by the Commission on Elections’ first division has validated the victory of Governor Douglas Cagas in the 2010 elections.

Ma. Febes Barlaan, Comelec provincial supervisor, said the Comelec released the recount results on Nov. 9.

The recount was prompted by an election protest lodged by former Davao del Sur Rep. Claude Bautista after the provincial board of canvassers declared Cagas the winner of the 2010 gubernatorial race.

In the provincial board canvass, Cagas got 163,440 while Bautista got only 159,527.

Bautista denounced the results as a fraud, claiming he was cheated by about 9,000 votes based on the election tally provided to him as a candidate, and sought to unseat Cagas through an election protest.

But the election body’s first division, headed by Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, said after the recount that Cagas won by 3,368 votes over Bautista’s 160,055 votes.

Barlaan said the Comelec set aside ballots not counted by the precinct count optical scan machines during the recount.

Davao de Sur second district Rep. Franklin Bautista said they were appealing the Comelec decision to the Supreme Court.

He said the family would be insisting on the inclusion of ballots that the PCOS machines had not counted in the aftermath of the 2010 gubernatorial race for still unknown reasons. He said if these ballots had been included in the provincial tally, his brother would have trashed Cagas by about 9,000 votes.

“Claude won more than 9,000 votes,” he said.

Cagas said he welcomed the Comelec decision and hoped that it would put to rest one of the stickiest issues hounding his administration.

On Monday, during a Thanksgiving Mass, Cagas said there was now more reason to celebrate because the 27-page Comelec decision on Bautista’s election protest has validated his claim to victory.

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